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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Heritage arrow A Feasting Ground of the Old Cannibals
A Feasting Ground of the Old Cannibals PDF Print
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Articles - Heritage
Written by PapersPast, National Library of New Zealand   
Sunday, 09 August 2009

Northern Advocate , 10 March 1906

(W. Fraser)

At one place the sand has been shifted for a depth of about six feet, and it is here that there is to be found a most interesting spectacle

Lying between the mouth of the Ngunguru River and that ocean beach so famous for its unsurpassable magnificence is a flat sandy point about a mile long and twenty chains wide. The titree scrub which formerly covered this point was killed about seven years ago by an easterly salt storm, which devastated much of the land along this coast} and the scrub roots, becoming rotten, have caused the sand to be laid bare and at the mercy of the elements. Consequently the flat is undergoing a strange transformation by the action of the wind on the fine sand. At one place the sand has been shifted for a depth of about six feet, and it is here that there is to be found a most interesting spectacle, which fills the beholder with uncanny fancies and pictures of the gruesome customs of the inhabitants of this fair land only a hundred years ago.

Covering an area of half an acre are the remains of an old-time feasting ground of the natives, now completely exposed to view, although evidently buried centuries ago. Stone fireplaces of various sizes, surrounded by heaps of pipi shells four and five feet high, with human bones scattered between, are to be seen all in a perfect state of preservation. The skulls are all broken into two, and the bones are those of grown men, which fact gives some colour to the supposition of the truthfulness of the Maori tradition concerning this place, which is this :—

Seven generations ago a strong body of warriors set sail from somewhere near Auckland to settle a dispute (in the then usual way) with a Northern tribe. Through unforeseen circumstances the chief or admiral of the little fleet was compelled to land his hungry troops on the Ngunguru sandspit where he was surprised by a stronger force, and after a short but desperate battle was overpowered, his troop suffering almost annihilation.

The few of the conquered who were left alive and sound were enslaved by the victors, and the remainder — well, their bones are still to be seen.

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